Black voters urged to take part in election by church

Services at the New Testament Church of God in Ladywood, Birmingham Black-led churches are growing in size and influence

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Black church leaders are launching a campaign which they say could inspire a million more black voters to go to the polls in the next general election.

Non-party lobby group Operation Black Vote has recruited church leaders to persuade people to register and vote.

It says having more black voters making their voice heard will end discrimination against the community.

And it says it is confident of meeting the target in time to affect the outcome of marginal constituencies.

The BBC's religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott said community leaders had long struggled to persuade black people to vote.

Significant numbers of people among some sections of the community - such as black Africans - had never registered to vote and a lack of confidence in the democratic process meant turnout was often very low, he added.

Operation Black Vote claims black people face discrimination which is built into the social and economic system - illustrated by poor housing, poverty and a 55% unemployment rate among young black men.

But in communities which often suffer high rates of deprivation, black-led churches have been a success story.

Their leaders say they can harness the churches' energy and organisation to create a powerful new electorate that politicians cannot ignore.

Operation Black Vote, which focuses on voter registration, lobbying politicians and mentoring schemes says it seeks "to inspire black and minority ethnic communities to engage with our public institutions in order to address the persistent race inequalities we face in areas such as education, health and employment".


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  • rate this

    Comment number 163.

    The problem thjat I am going to ahve at the next General Election is which party to vote for.
    Conservative - break their word within 42 days of election, attack the NHS and the less well off.
    Liberal Democrats - lack of principles. Break word on anything to get into power
    Labour - untrustworthy, no longer left wing or much different to the Conservatives
    UKIP - tends to be one issue party
    BNP- !!

  • rate this

    Comment number 162.

    156.Pete Powell

    "The only way that we will get a more representative result in a general (or by-) election will be to make voting compulsory"

    Untill candidates from the ruling elite represent all sections of society and not just the white middle england majority then any result is never going to be "representative" no matter who votes

  • rate this

    Comment number 161.

    In a grown up country, the reason why people don't want to vote would be looked at rather than just putting your fingers in your ears and saying 'Just vote, damn you'.

    That reasoning is the same as Mr. Fawlty with his Mini.

    Many,many people feel that 'Parliament' is not relevant in their lives

    Maybe it's because it was never created 'For the people'

    If we are honest, it doesn't work.

  • rate this

    Comment number 160.

    Good for Black church leaders to encourage their members to take part in the political process rather than live at a distance from democratic responsibilities. Having visited several black majority churches, I find that they set great examples through their community service, mentoring schemes for young people and engaging with current social issues. We are a richer nation because of their lives.

  • rate this

    Comment number 159.

    Basically it should be illegal not to vote ... But politicians need to come to terms with the fact that there needs to be a box that says you are all a load of crap and none of you are worth voting for
    Then our useless politicians would have to start actually doing something rather than enacting more and more useless and unnecessary laws and looking good and being nice ... Sickening

  • rate this

    Comment number 158.


    Skin colour discrimination/disadvantage etc. will be an issue as long as we let it make headlines.

    Racism will disappear if we start seeing fellow citizens as fellow humans no matter what colour.

    This is an inflated non-issue.


  • rate this

    Comment number 157.

    Community leaders in white communities are mostly elected MPs and councillors, while community leaders in ethnic minority communities are almost all self proclaimed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 156.

    The only way that we will get a more representative result in a general (or by-) election will be to make voting compulsory. You may, if you wish spoil your voting paper, but at least you will have made some decision. Staying at home and not voting is a gift to the party of someone else's choice. It also takes away your right to moan or criticise. Just VOTE!

  • rate this

    Comment number 155.

    150. Al Gore

    145 pretty much anywhere outside the egocentric UK/US - doing remarkably well (especially where the US have not imposed trade embargoes and other forms of financial tyranny)

    North Korea, Cuba, China and Syria (baathists) and Venezuela.

    Fine and upstanding examples of Socialism. I stand corrected lol

    Free and fair elections prove your point.

  • rate this

    Comment number 154.

    I won't vote again until all candidates are Independent and free from party ties and nonsense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 153.

    Apparently this HYS audience thinks that racism is fine (given the ratings), so long as it's done for the benefit of people with black skin colour, and/or done as an expedient to get more people voting. That is sickening to me, just utterly sickening.

  • rate this

    Comment number 152.

    When I engage with people at work; or in a shop, or in any situation I see the person but can never know their thoughts about me.

    People react differently in different situations. Prejudice is everywhere, in all it's forms. We are all the wrong age, colour, size, looks, occupation, gender, religion, poltics etc., fed by mass media that contnues to manipulate our views on serious issues.

  • rate this

    Comment number 151.

    This isn't a problem due to the colour of someones skin. Its a downtrend in turnout across the board thats the problem due to engagement issues between politicians and voters.

    Would it really matter if a black/white religious leader told someone they should vote, if that voter couldn't be bothered to vote for the lesser of who cares...

  • rate this

    Comment number 150.

    145 pretty much anywhere outside the egocentric UK/US - doing remarkably well (especially where the US have not imposed trade embargoes and other forms of financial tyranny)

  • rate this

    Comment number 149.


    What's the point here?
    It's everybody's individual decision to vote or not to vote, no matter which colour your skin is of... When will we finally end racism in our minds?


  • rate this

    Comment number 148.

    "Operation Black Vote" ="Operation Labour Vote"

  • rate this

    Comment number 147.

    I wonder what would happen if every voter wrote "none of the above" on the ballot paper.

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.

    "Operation Black Vote"?

    Why isn't that racist?

    If the BNP started "Operation White Vote" the PC brigade would be up in arms.

  • rate this

    Comment number 145.

    139. Al Gore
    "looney left"...that's rich coming from a self-confessed Ukipper.

    What was it Cameron descried you lot as a bunch of fruit cakes, loonies and closet racists

    ...Cameron is entitled to his opinion. As to UKIP, I fully expect they will win the next Euro election. When was the last time the looney left won anything? Socialists are so last century.

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    123.Simon Henly

    135.Simon Henly

    Have you ever spoken to a black person, do you have any idea what black issues are? I doubt you have, and I doubt you do.

    To suggest not voting is because of indifference is such a silly comment and total ignorance.

    A democracy represents all sections of society, British democracy clearly doesn't.


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